On this day in historical past, May 22, 1992, Johnny Carson makes his final appearance on ‘The Tonight Show’

Johnny Carson, the king of late-night tv, hosted his final episode of “The Tonight Show” on this day in history, May 22, 1992, after a 30-year run. 

Carson performed about 22,000 interviews throughout his tenure and was seen by extra individuals on extra events than anybody else in U.S. television history, in accordance with the Vancouver Sun.

The long-running “The Tonight Show” was the primary, and for many years the most-watched, community speak program on tv, stated the Television Academy Foundation. 


In October 1962, Carson took over as host from Jack Paar and the published turned “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” 

Carson hosted the present for 30 years, from 1962 to 1992. 

Photo of Johnny Carson, circa 1960. He was “known for his glib sense of humor and his middle-American appeal,” the Television Academy Foundation famous. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

During that point, the present moved from New York City to Burbank, California

“Carson was known for his glib sense of humor and his middle-American appeal, and quickly recognized his increasing popularity as well as the strain of doing comedy and talk five nights a week,” stated the Television Academy Foundation. 

“As an entertainer, it has been the great experience of my life.”

“He threatened to leave the show, but was lured back with a generous offer that included a huge salary increase and more time off.”

Carson was emotional throughout his final present — and his monologue was fittingly centered on his retirement, the Vancouver Sun famous.


Carson’s insights on his retirement included this remark: “Well, let me try to explain it. If I could magically, somehow — that tape you just saw — make it run backwards, I would like to do the whole thing over again. It’s been a hell of a lot of fun.”

Johnny Carson, Robert Blake and Ed McMahon chat on Johnny's late night talk show

Johnny Carson (far proper), together with Ed McMahon and Robert Blake on “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson” in 1975. (Fred Sabine/NBCU)

He went on, “As an entertainer, it has been the great experience of my life, and I cannot imagine finding something in television after I leave tonight that would give me as much joy and pleasure, and such a sense of exhilaration, as this show has given me. It’s just hard to explain.”

He continued his monologue, “Now, it’s a farewell show. There’s a certain sadness among the staff, a little melancholy. But look on the bright side: You won’t have to read or hear one more story about me leaving this show. The press coverage has been absolutely tremendous, and we are very grateful.”

“The press coverage has been absolutely tremendous, and we are very grateful.”

He added, “But my God, the Soviet Union’s end did not get this kind of publicity. The press has been very decent and honest with me, and I thank them for that … That’s about it.”

Midwestern roots

Carson was born John William Carson on Oct. 23, 1925, in Corning, Iowa.

Following his highschool commencement and repair in the U.S. Navy throughout World War II — he helped to decode encrypted enemy radio visitors on the USS Pennsylvania — Carson enrolled on the University of Nebraska.

There, he participated in student theatrical activities and labored for a radio station in Lincoln, Britannica famous.

Then, following commencement in 1949, Carson took a radio job in Omaha — and in 1951 he started working as an announcer at a tv station in Los Angeles.

He then hosted a Sunday afternoon comedy present, which led to his being employed as a author for Red Skelton’s present, says Britannica.

“After Carson substituted efficiently for Skelton on the final minute on one event, he was given his personal short-lived selection present, ‘The Johnny Carson Show,'” according to the same source. 

“He then moved to New York City and in 1957 became host of the game show, ‘Who Do You Trust?’ In 1962 Carson changed Jack Paar as host of ‘The Tonight Show.’”

Carson was additionally awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992.

During his 30-year tenure, Carson created such memorable characters as Aunt Blabby and Carnac the Magnificent, in addition to many traditional skits, turning into one of the vital beloved performers in the nation. 

Carson’s final appearance because the host of “The Tonight Show” attracted an estimated 50 million viewers, the biggest viewers in this system’s historical past, famous Britannica.

In whole, Carson obtained six Emmy Awards, the Television Academy’s 1980 Governor’s Award and a 1985 Peabody Award, stated the Television Academy Foundation. 

Johnny Carson Dick Carson

Johnny Carson, on the left, chats with his brother director Dick Carson backstage on the Sahara Hotel circa 1973 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

He was additionally awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush and first girl Barbara Bush, with the quotation noting that Carson “personifies the heart and humor of America.”

In 1993, he obtained a Kennedy Center Honor.

Also, “when Carson retired, Jay Leno was appointed the following principal host of ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,’” stated the Television Academy. 

“Leno, a well-known stand-up comedian, brought to the show his own writers and comic style, showcasing it in his opening monologues and banter with guests.” 


On Jan. 23, 2005, Carson handed away on the age of 79. 

“While the Carson family released few details of his death it was reportedly the result of complications stemming from emphysema,” stated NPR.


Tributes poured in after Carson’s loss of life, with this standout line coming from Leno: “No single individual has had as great an impact on television as Johnny. He was the gold standard.”

And “Tonight Show” publicist Charles Barrett stated, “He always drove himself to work, never took a limo. He was a guy who expected a level of professionalism from everyone on the show.”

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